The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has asked parents to keep their children at home for this whole week due to the strike action by its members.
The association’s Ashanti Regional Chairman, Prosper Tachie, explained that teachers will not return to classrooms for at least the whole of this week. Hence, it is unnecessary for parents to allow their children to sit in empty classrooms.
Mr Tachie said the strike is likely to continue until government is willing to grant teachers’ request for a 20% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).
Classrooms have been empty across the nation in public schools over the past two days and are likely to be empty for the rest of the week due to a strike announced by GNAT on Monday, July 4.
Mr. Tachie revealed that this week’s strike is only the first part of GNAT’s negotiating plan.
“We will strike for the rest of the week and decide our next move over the weekend. We will keep pushing until government meets us at the negotiating table. Organised labor has been trying to communicate with government since the start of the year but they have turned a deaf ear to us, this has led us to strike,” he said.
He said teachers have accepted 4% and 7% increases in salary respectively over the last two years without input.
“We accepted a 7% increase for 2022 as we anticipated inflation to rise by 15%…inflation rose by 27.5%,” Tachie said.
Speaking with David Akuetteh on Luv In the Morning, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of GNAT, Prosper Tachie, explained that the rate of salary increase is not proportionate to the rate of inflation increase which has significantly lowered teachers’ purchasing power.
“I don’t know a single teacher who is not on a loan slip. Our salary lasts 10 days of the month, after that, we turn into magicians to make ends meet,” he stated.
He maintained that teachers’ relationship with the government is not a master-slave affair adding that government must recognize that teachers’ pay is unlivable.
Mr. Tachie disagreed that the strike action is insensitive to government particularly when the country has sought an IMF bailout.
“Government raises the revenue to pay our salaries by the middle of the month and the payment delays are due to incompetence in the accounts office.
“People must understand that teachers are living like beggars and that it’s government’s job to look after them,” he emphasized.
Mr. Tachie empathized with parents’ concerns regarding their children’s education.
“We know that exams are coming up and that it’s a tough time for the country…it is so important for government to listen and solve our problems. We have been tolerating mistreatment for too long…it must stop now.”
According to Mr. Tachie, teachers will not accept anything below the proposed 20% COLA allowance.
“We have brought a proposal, now its government’s turn,” he said. “I cannot say if we will accept lower than 20% but I’ll say that a lot can happen on the negotiation table. You cannot tell us that the government is in debt and unable to meet our demands because Article 71 workers, despite earning more, are receiving greater increments.”